The Illinois State University Alumni Association Board of Directors formed the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to find opportunities to partner with the University to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for students and alumni. As a part of this initiative, the committee has planned a series of virtual listening sessions for all Redbird alumni to reflect and collect insights from the Redbird community.

The first session occurred on January 12 with approximately 30 alumni in attendance. Graduation years ranged from 1968- 2018 with a combination of out-of-state and in-state alumni representing five of our six colleges as well as the Office of the Provost. The listening session reiterated the passion that many Redbirds have toward Illinois State University, their willingness to give back to the University, and consensus for improved outreach and promotion of our current activities. Participants expressed appreciation for the initiative, a desire to be better informed about current DEI initiatives, a willingness to engage, and suggestions on how to carry out this important work. 

“The Alumni Association and its board of directors are proud to lead this effort,” said Nikita Richards ’06, M.S. ’15, co-chair of the board’s DEI committee. “To align with the University’s core values, our board wanted to spearhead this initiative. We recognized the necessity of this work and started the groundwork. This is a partnership that requires active listening, unlearning, and then applying what we’ve recently learned. Our committee members are invested in and dedicated to the Redbird community.”

The Alumni Association board is grateful to all alumni and friends who have and want to share their experiences to continue to drive the DEI committee’s goals. The committee will continue to follow up with attendees for additional feedback to improve engagement across all alumni groups as well as how to encourage students to be active alumni. Future listening sessions will be planned for the spring. Visit the Alumni Association website to learn more about its purpose and services.